Clay Aiken may not have won his season of American Idol — coming in second behind Ruben Studdard in 2003 — but now the 35-year-old is hoping to win over North Carolina's 2nd congressional district in the upcoming elections.
The "Invisible" singer confirmed that he was running in the Democratic primary with a video posted to YouTube today, February 5. In it, he announces his candidacy from the house of a family friend, the place where he and his mother once took shelter after she fled Clay's abusive father.
"So much of who I am was shaped in those early years, and it's part of why I decided to run for Congress."
He starts by recounting his upbringing in a lower-class family and his "unbelievable" ascent to fame with Idol.
"For most Americans, there are no golden tickets — at least, not like the kind you see on TV," he expounds. "More families are struggling today than at any time in our history, and here in North Carolina, we've suffered more than our share of pain."
Clay recounts his time working as a special needs teacher for students with autism and as a UNICEF ambassador in Afghanistan and Somalia — and then turns his attention to Rep. Renee Ellmers, who currently holds the seat to which he aspires.
"My faith taught me to see the good in others, and the district where I'm running is represented by a Congresswoman who I believe went to Washington with good intentions," Clay says, before outlining the military budget cuts Renee for which has voted at the urging of party leaders.
He continues: "This is what's wrong with Washington — that a Congresswoman would go there and vote against the best interests of North Carolina military families and those who depend on the military for their jobs … If I didn't try to do something about it, then I couldn't complain if no one else did."
"I'm not a politician—I don't ever want to be one," Clay adds. "But I do want to help bring back, at least to my corner of North Carolina, the idea that someone can go to Washington to represent all the people, whether they voted for you or not. And maybe we can play a small part in igniting that change across the rest of our country."
Well, we wish him the best of luck — and we join him in a sigh of relief that he's not running against Ruben!